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Review: A Conspiracy of Alchemists, Liesel Schwarz

15849472“When dirigible pilot Elle Chance accepts an unusual cargo in Paris she finds herself in the middle of a deadly war between the Alchemists and Warlocks.

The Alchemists will stop at nothing to acquire the coveted carmot stone and its key, and Elle must do everything in her power to thwart their diabolical plans.

Embarking on a perilous cross-continental adventure with the mysterious Mr Marsh, Elle is forced to question everything she ever knew about herself to fulfil her destiny and prevent a magical apocalypse…”

This keeps happening to me lately. The blurb of a book sounds absolute genius, but the book itself falls far short of the mark. I’m the first to admit that the publishing world often baffles me, and I could be miles out here, but I’m assuming that the marketing wiz writes the blurb? Seems to me, more and more, that the blurb wizmasters should be the ones doing the writing.

In fairness, I’ve read a lot worse, but as a Steampunk fan who enjoys the likes of Carriger, Priest and KW Jeter, this really doesn’t compare. The ambitious mix of genres didn’t work at all for me, but maybe that’s just because I’m a bit of a Steampunk purist at heart and have little time for fairies and trite romance with hot Warlocks. In fact, if the word “fairy” had been mentioned anywhere in the blurb, I’d have passed on this altogether. It’s too YA for my taste, I struggled to take it seriously. For me it read as the kind of YA that you need to be somewhere around 13 or 14 to properly enjoy.

The main issue I had was that nothing felt authentic here, there were so many little hiccups that I couldn’t lose myself in Schwarz’s world, try as I might. Cafe ‘du’ Aleix? ‘Gov’ a supposed strong cockney accent?  And once we get to Oxford..the House Goblins..avoidance thereof, I had flashes of Hermione with her SPEW badges that just wouldn’t shift. They’re all little, inconsequential things, but they amass, and irritate, and this very much wasn’t for me. I mean, the tea thing…pouring tea without giving it even a moment to brew? Yes, dammit, I’m a tea purist as well.

The plot was too simplistic, the romance was too trite, and the world building was too weak for me. Childlike execution is the best way I can think to describe it. I can let one, or even two of the three go if whatever’s left is outstanding, but sadly in this case there was nothing I felt I could engage with. If you like your Paranormal Romance though, and aren’t hardcore Steampunk or haven’t read much around the genre, you might well enjoy this. Sadly, ’twas not for me. My advice would be to save your hard earned and go and buy Soulless instead.

 

gr_orange_star_active A PhoenixFantasy One Star Read

 

[A Conspiracy of Alchemists is published by Del Rey and is due for release 7th Feb 2013]

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A Conspiracy of Alchemists, The Chronicles of Light and Shadow

Many thanks to Random House (or should that be Random Penguin?) for the Conspiracy of Alchemists ARC.

Dirigibles, Vampires and Warlocks? Why yes please, I think I will!

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“For urban fantasy fans and readers of Gail Carriger’s Changeless, Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, and Rob Reid’s Year Zero, a fun, fast-paced, action-packed new historical fantasy series starring vampires, fairies, and the unforgettable heroine, Elle Chance.

A Conspiracy of Alchemists is the first book of the Chronicles of Light and Shadow series, starring the spunky dirigible pilot Elle Chance and the handsome warlock Marsh. Set during the Belle Epoque, Conspiracy is a thrilling and inventive historical fantasy, where the myths and legends of Old Europe live side by side with the wondrous creations of modern scientists and aviators. It’s also set in a world haunted by vampires, fairies, and other supernatural creatures. And it mixes a thrill-a-minute page-turning plot with a genuinely moving love story. In Conspiracy, Elle and Marsh face off against a shadowy band of alchemists intent on sundering the veil between the world of the supernatural and our own-and learn that Elle has a mysterious part to play in this magical conspiracy.”

This one looks like so much fun, can’t wait to dig in! I’ve got to say though, I prefer the UK cover to the US one shown (at Random’s request). Sounds delicious either way though! I’ve not got around to the Carriger series yet, but I like Boneshaker and Year Zero so I’ve got high hopes for this.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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